For the Week ending November 19th

19 NOV Twenty-Fourth Sunday After Pentecost

Season of Saints: Thanksgiving of the Saints

What is Thanksgiving Day like where you are? More importantly, how shaped by Thanksgiving, and in particular the Great Thanksgiving, the thanksgiving of the saints, is your life? How might a life of thanksgiving for God’s mighty acts of salvation, unfolding from day to day, give you strength to tell the story of the saints and wear the clothing of the saints with confidence and joy?

References:

Deuteronomy 8:7-18
Psalm 65
2 Corinthians 9:6-15
Luke 17:11-19

Prayer

God, our provider, your Word creates our life and strength. Everything we have is a gift from your open hand. Guide us by your Spirit to be diligent and faithful stewards of all that you entrust to our care. May we not bury our gifts or fearfully hoard resources. Fill our hearts with trust, so that we can experience your joy in giving. May our congregation show your generosity through our mission in the world. We ask this for the sake of Jesus Christ. Amen. (Matthew 25:14-30)

 

For the week ending November 12, 2017

12 NOV Twenty-Third Sunday After Pentecost

Season of Saints: Stories of the Saints

What is the primary distinguishing mark of the stories saints tell? They are stories of deliverance, stories of salvation, and never stories merely of personal or family accomplishment. How will God help you tell your story the way the saints do?

REFERENCES:

  • Joshua 24:1-3a, 14-25
  • Psalm 78:1-7
  • 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18
  • Matthew 25:1-13

 

Prayer
O Lord our God, you are completely righteous and good. In Christ, you call us to worship you in Spirit and truth. Help us to connect our faith with our daily actions. Thank you for the freedom to gather and worship you. Please protect our Christian brothers and sisters in every land. May our church contribute to an unending flow of justice for those in need. Let our lives and offerings be pleasing in your sight. We pray through Christ your Son. Amen. (Amos 5:18-24)

For the Week ending November 5, 2017

05 NOV Twenty-Second Sunday After Pentecost

Season of Saints: Clothing of the Saints

This service kicks off the series in conversation with the Epistle reading for All Saints and Charles Wesley’s paraphrase of that reading in his hymn “What Are These Arrayed in White?” What they are and what they wear are clues for what God longs for all of us to become: beloved saints– and what it takes for us to become them.

REFERENCES:

  • Joshua 3:7-17
  • Psalm 107:1-7, 33-37
  • 1 Thessalonians 2:9-13
  • Matthew 23:1-12

Additional All Saints Day readings:

  • Revelation 7:9-17
  • Psalm 34:1-10, 22
  • 1 John 3:1-3
  • Matthew 5:1-12

 

For the Week ending October 29, 2017

29 OCT Twenty-First Sunday After Pentecost

Habits of Hospitality: SHARING OUR AUTHENTIC SELVES

Habits of Hospitality concludes with this week’s focus on sharing our authentic selves with others in the midst of offering hospitality in the course of our mission. We come in peace offering peace. We come seeking not to impose but to welcome, and so to learn from those among whom we come. And we share Christ with those we’ve welcomed out of who we really are, not as if Christ is to us some “widget” or “service” we’re selling.

REFERENCES:

  • Deuteronomy 34:1-12
  • Psalm 90:1-6
  • 1 Thessalonians 2:1-8
  • Matthew 22:34-46

Prayer

Holy God, you continually work to transform the brokenness of this world into your Kingdom. You lift us up when we stumble in sin, so that we may honor you and live for your noble purposes. Embolden our congregation to tell others about your Son Jesus, whose presence brings new life. Fill our hearts with your Spirit’s gift of generosity, so that our lives and our offerings will be pleasing to you. Amen. (1 Thessalonians 2:1-8)

 

For the Week ending October 22, 2017

22 OCT Twentieth Sunday After Pentecost

Habits of Hospitality: WELCOMING ALL THE PEOPLE

What does it mean to become “imitators of us and of the Lord” and to receive “the word with joy inspired by the Holy Spirit” so that we may become examples to other believers? What does it mean to be truly welcoming, receiving all people and their gifts, even as we serve a living and true God and wait for the coming again of Christ in final glory?

REFERENCES:

  • Exodus 33:12-23
  • Psalm 99 (UMH 819)
  • 1 Thessalonians 1:1-10
  • Matthew 22:15-22

Prayer

God of our salvation, through Jesus Christ’s self-offering on the cross, you granted eternal life. We who were far off have become members of your household. We belong to you, yet we get caught up in the world that judges others by what they own. Enable us to love you with our whole heart. Free us from clinging to our money and possessions. Use our gifts and offerings to bring relief to people in need of physical and spiritual healing. We ask this for the sake of Christ, our risen Lord. Amen. (Matthew 22:15-22)

 

For the Week ending October 15, 2017

15 OCT Nineteenth Sunday After Pentecost

Habits of Hospitality: OFFERING PEACE

Laity Sunday

This week’s non-lectionary-based service for Laity Sunday launches a three-week miniseries, “Habits of Hospitality,” in which the succeeding two services are based on the Epistle readings from the Revised Common Lectionary.

REFERENCES:

  • Exodus 32:1-14
  • Psalm 106:1-6, 19-23 (UMH 829)
  • Philippians 4:1-9
  • Matthew 22:1-14

 

For the Week ending October 8, 2017

08 OCT Eighteenth Sunday After Pentecost

Children’s Sabbath

The purpose of the Children’s Sabbath observance is social advocacy for the needs of children throughout this nation. This year’s theme is “Moving Forward with Hope: Love and Justice for Every Child.” Children’s Sabbath–a weekend-long observance, primarily in the community–should not be confused with Children’s Sunday, a Sunday worship observance that focuses primarily on drawing attention to the children in our own congregations. For this reason, it is not recommended that today’s worship service be given over to “children’s programming” as such, although it is always recommended that children be given as many opportunities to lead and participate in worship as possible.

REFERENCES:

  • Exodus 20:1-4
  • Psalm 19 (UMH 750)
  • Philippians 3:4b-14
  • Matthew 21:33-46

Prayer

Almighty God, your wondrous creation testifies to your wisdom. We are in awe of you as we witness an eclipse or a glorious sunset. When a hurricane causes destruction, we ponder your power and feel vulnerable. We would be lost without your life-giving word! Thank you for befriending us in Christ, your word made flesh. May your Spirit give us a loving, childlike heart to reflect your kindness each day. Receive our offerings in Jesus’ name. Amen. (Psalm 19)

For the Week ending October 1, 2017

01 OCT Seventeenth Sunday After Pentecost

World Communion Sunday

REFERENCES:

  • Exodus 17:1-7
  • Psalm 78:1-4, 12-16
  • Philippians 2:1-13
  • Matthew 21:23-32

Prayer

Most Gracious God, you hold each person’s life as more precious than we can imagine. When we turn aside from following your way, you urgently call us back to your way. Send your Spirit to give us a new heart to live as faithful people who show forgiveness to others. We dedicate our lives and our money to help share your good news with our neighbors. We pray through Christ your Son, who gave his life for the sake of the world. Amen. (Ezekiel 18:1-4, 25-32)

 

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